Evaluation of Methods for Establishing Native Aquatic Vegetation in Seven Texas Reservoirs

Aquatic vegetation plays an important role in freshwater systems, providing quality habitat for fish, sequestering nutrients, stabilizing sediments, and improving water clarity. Because many Texas reservoirs are either sparsely vegetated or contain an overabundance of non-native species such as hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division began a new initiative to develop procedures for establishing diverse native aquatic plant communities. Establishment techniques were tested in seven reservoirs representing diverse geographical areas from 1998 through 2003. Aquatic plant species native to Texas and representing three growth forms (submersed, floating-leaved, and emergent) were used. Plant survival and spread was documented using GIS technology. Results were variable; however, founder colonies capable of long-term propagule production and spread were established in all seven reservoirs.

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